30 December 2007

In Case You're New and Wondering....

Welcome to Random Thoughts! I've recently been connecting in some new online communities, and just in case someone from one of them visits here and then wonders more about us, here is our condensed story:

Thomas and I met in graduate school. Thomas had recently returned from a mission's trip to Siberia (yes, the really cold part of Russia; though it's actually quite warm in the summer time). He thought surely the greatest pick up line in the world was: "Hey, come with me to Siberia!" (just imagine this being said quite sarcastically)

We married December 27, 2003. Yes, my parents were thrilled with our marriage, even though it meant I, their only child, would eventually be living in Siberia. I do however, think that my mother would have preferred a different date, but the wedding was beautiful!

One year later

We visited Siberia together in February 2005, and we still believed God to be calling us to minister in Russia after our 3-week adventure.

At this point we both really wanted to have a baby, and in the summer of 2005 I found out I was indeed pregnant--great rejoicing! Other than being incredibly sick for a really long time, the pregnancy was fairly normal, I guess, until we discovered that Isaiah would be named Isaiah and not some girly name. On that day, which I recall being warm and sunny and maybe sometime in October, we also learned that Isaiah has spina bifida. There are many degrees of this birth defect, so for those of you medical buffs, his defect is between L2 and L3. His type is spina bifida manifesto, myelomeningocele in conjunction with hydrocephalus. And if you want more details, you can read here.

As you can imagine, our lives were a little uncertain at that point...NOT uncertain as to whether or not Isaiah should be born, that WAS NEVER a question! We believed then and still do now that Isaiah is our gift from God, and that God created him exactly the way that he should be. The way that our lives changed involved our calling to missions.
We weren't sure if we would be able to move to Siberia, since our child might have a disability.

Isaiah decided that he didn't want to wait for the day he was "supposed" to be born. He made his quite dramatic entrance on February 6, 2006. I won't go into all the details, but the day was difficult in many ways. After several hours I was finally able to see my precious boy, and loved him even more than I thought possible! After only 21 days in the hospital and 3 surgeries, we got to take him home.

Our first family photo

God did make it possible for us to move to Russia, though not Siberia. Isaiah has a shunt in his head to drain fluid that builds up. Should this shunt malfunction for any reason, he would need almost immediate attention to prevent any long-term damage. Unfortunately, such care is not available in Siberia, at least not that we have discovered at this point. So for now we are living in St. Petersburg as we learn this difficult language. For more about our ministry, please visit our website.
In the spring of 2009 God brought more opportunities of growth for our family. I had a miscarriage in March and again in May. We were of course devastated, but still believed that God would have us add to our family. I was able to have tests run to determine the possible causes of the miscarriages and now take medicine to help prevent any further harm to future children.

And, I suppose that I want to explain some of the pictures that you might see on this blog. Isaiah is a happy, wonderful, loving little man; but he does have some medical needs that most kids his age don't have. Isaiah cannot walk. He does an amazing "army crawl" all around the house (and in the sandbox when it's warm), that I could never manage. His defect effects his bladder and bowel; we are not sure how much feeling he has in these areas. We help him "potty" 4 times a day with a catheter and give him water enemas every other day. He's sitting on his own much better these days, even working with his hands some. During the summer/fall of 2009 we were in the States for 5 months. During that time Isaiah was able to have intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy. He was able to be fitted for full-leg braces and begin learning to walk with a walker! We praise God for this progress!

Also while we were in the States, God blessed us with our 4th child, who Lord willing, will be joining us in June 2010. We excitedly await the birth of Nadezhda "Nadia" Grace Slawson!

So those are the bare facts. If you would like to know more, please feel free to ask, anything. I'm used to explaining this all in Russian, now, so talking about it in English is a breeze!

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to know who you are and visit your blog, too, if you have one. Please leave me a comment!


The Schwant Family said...

Hey! I've never read this since I know all the details but I just did and it is GREAT! Well done, my friend!

Lynn EnsMom said...

CristyLynn, thank you for sharing your life out here in blogland. I'm in awe of God that he can provide for you as you minister in St. Petersburg. I have a chid with special needs (and 4 other kids - some grown) and although we've done lots of adventures, living overseas doesn't seem possible to me!
I love your photo under the About Us section on the right side of your blog. Adorable!
I've heard St. Petersburg is beautiful. Looks to me like God arranged for you three to add to its beauty.

Maggie Mae said...

CrityLynn - God bless you for embracing Isaiah and all the challenges and joys he brings to you and your family. You are certainly an inspiration. I'll be watching/reading about you and your multi-purpose missions (Mom to Isaiah, mission work in Russia, wife to your hubby etc.)

rickismom said...

I know that Russia is way behind in the acceptance of inteelectual disabilities (except for a new trend in Moscow, almost all kids with Down syndrome get institutionalized). Is it the same with physical problems, or are they more open there?
Does your child need speech therapy? If so, it will probably help your Russian! My daughter's therapy helped my Hebrew immensley!

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

Wow! I teared up as I read. What a testimony of love and determination. Priase the Lord that He planted you somewhere beautiful to be used of Him.

Elizabeth said...

Hello! I found your blog through Facebook. I'll be heading back to St. Petersburg in the fall, but I normally live there year-round.

debi9kids said...

What a beautiful family you have and so full of love. Thank you for sharing!

Donette said...

Thank you for sharing so much of your family and your journey.
Your family testimony has touched me on many levels.
Thank you

Vanessa said...

Beautiful story - thanks for sharing it. Your son seems to have a lot of determination and courage - he must get that from his parents.

TMI Tara said...

What a special story about a special family.

I'm wondering if you'd mind sharing this on the kidz blog (kidzorg.blogspot.com).

Just let me know.